Connected Car Life
Everything you need to know about Apple CarPlay

10 Things to Know About Apple CarPlay




1. What is Apple CarPlay?

Apple CarPlay is a system built into iOS that connects your phone to display on your car stereo, enabling the use of your iPhone for navigation, messaging, and listening to music. Utilizing Siri for voice control it lets you keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road.

2. Which cars have CarPlay?

Introduced in 2014, the number of vehicles that offer CarPlay has grown to over 200. Click here for the full list.

3. How do I add CarPlay to a vehicle I already own?

It’s as easy as upgrading your factory stereo to an aftermarket one. Companies like Pioneer offer a range of CarPlay compatible head units.​ For most cars you can even keep your steering wheel audio controls and backup camera.

​4. How do I use CarPlay?

If you have the most up to date iOS on your iPhone, you already have CarPlay on your phone. All you have to do is connect your phone with a USB cable (or now wirelessly) to a CarPlay compatible car stereo.  Once connected you can either use the car’s in-dash touchscreen display or Siri’s voice commands to use any of the CarPlay compatible navigation, messaging or music apps. You can also make and receive phone calls while within CarPlay by using Bluetooth.

5. What apps are CarPlay compatible?

Apple keeps pretty tight control over which apps can be used with CarPlay so not every app on your phone will work with CarPlay. The area that you will have the least amount of choice in apps is navigation; currently you can only use Apple Maps. For music you can use the usual suspects like Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, and Apple Music. Messaging uses the native Apple apps with the addition of compatibility with Skype and Facebook Messenger.

6. Why does CarPlay look so plain?

Simply put, it’s supposed to be boring looking. CarPlay was designed to reduce distracted driving by making sure you’re focused on the road and not a screen.

7. How much data does CarPlay use?

Apple CarPlay itself does not use any data from your cell plan, the apps you use will. So if you normally use your phone for navigation or streaming music you’ll use the same amount of data as before. For more on data use (hint: it might be less then you think) for Apple Maps click here.

8. Can I use Waze with CarPlay?

Starting with iOS 12 Apple is opening up the CarPlay ecosystem to 3rd party navigation apps, so apps like Waze and Google Maps will now work with Apple CarPlay. Nope. Officially you can only use Apple Maps for CarPlay but there is an option to have Waze run in the background so you get the voice turn-by-turn directions but that map would not be display on screen.

9. Can CarPlay control car functions like air conditioning or door locks?

No, CarPlay is just a infotainment system that overlays on top of your OEM or aftermarket stereo’s operating system. If you have steering wheel audio controls those will work to change the volume or track selection but other then that your vehicle operates independent of CarPlay.

10. How do I send text messages or emails with CarPlay?

Siri handles all of your messaging with her voice to text feature. When you receive a text message it will ask if you want her to read it out loud, it will not display on the screen. Upon reading the message you can reply using Siri’s voice to text feature. If you want to send a new text or email all you have to do is say “Hey Siri, send [name] a text message.”